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Fans buoyed by recent reports that 'Pirates of the Caribbean 4' would be out by 2011 should batten the hatches, because there's a Kraken-sized storm brewing that may sink the film -- a storm called scheduling conflicts.

According to Comingsoon.net, director Rob Marshall, who has been approached by Disney to direct the latest installment of the blockbuster franchise, sounded a warning note about the prospects of filming the movie in time for the 2011 release date -- or possibly at all -- due to commitments by star Johnny Depp. Fans buoyed by recent reports that 'Pirates of the Caribbean 4' would be out by 2011 should batten the hatches, because there's a Kraken-sized storm brewing that may sink the film -- a storm called scheduling conflicts.

According to Comingsoon.net, director Rob Marshall, who has been approached by Disney to direct the latest installment of the blockbuster franchise, sounded a warning note about the prospects of filming the movie in time for the 2011 release date -- or possibly at all -- due to commitments by star Johnny Depp.

"We're still trying to figure out if it's going to all happen," Marshall said. "If it happens -- I think Johnny's doing a movie with Angelina Jolie in the spring --so if it happens, we'll start in the summer, and we'll see."

The movie in question is Sony's long-gestating 'The Tourist,' which has seen a number of stars and directors come and go over creative differences. At present, it appears 'Children of Men' auteur Alfonso Cuaron will be helming the picture, with Jolie and Depp slated to star, but given some of the problems the movie has already faced in pre-production it's difficult to say whether shooting will begin or end in time for Depp to fit in what is sure to be a long and rigorous shoot for 'Pirates.'

Still, Marshall, whose musical 'Nine' opens wide this week, is cautiously optimistic that they'll manage to pull it off, though in light of the film's uncertainty he was hesitant to discuss specifics. "I would need a script first. It all comes from the script and the story. You serve the story and you find out what the story is and then you work from there, that's it. It's simple."

"I'm excited," he added. "If it happens, it happens. I'd be thrilled. I just love Johnny and I'm excited about the genre."

Previous reports this fall indicated that the production was full speed ahead, with Depp reportedly signing a groundbreaking $38 million deal to return to the high seas. The film, tentatively titled 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,' would be the fourth in a franchise that has already pulled in a staggering $2.68 billion worldwide.

And with that amount of money at stake we have a feeling this is the kind of storm that will quickly blow over.